Black Elk makes it known that he intends to tell John Neihardt the story of his life, especially his early vision, which Black Elk says he failed to fulfill. In ritual fashion, Black Elk and Neihardt smoke the red willow bark in Black Elk's holy pipe as an offering to the Great Spirit. Black Elk tells a story about a sacred woman who appeared to two men and offered them a pipe, and then offers an invocation before proceeding with the story of his life and vision.In this initial chapter, Black Elk endorses John Neihardt as the person through whom he will tell his story, which is part autobiography, part spiritual revelation, and part tribal history. He emphasizes that his own life story is also the story of his tribe and that, in fact, it would not be worth telling if it were only his personal story. This statement indicates the communal nature of Indian experience;
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